People call it a Third World country: Guatemala, sandwiched between Mexico and Honduras. A country that has extensive slums, barely a 70% literacy rate, and roads roamed by feral dogs and scrawny chickens. Quite different from America’s high standard of living with comfortable homes, high literacy rates, and cutting-edge health care. There’s a more basic difference, though, between these two ends of the spectrum: In one country, abortion is always legal, and in the other, it’s almost always not.
I was born in Guatemala to a loving mother and a father who said he “didn’t want me to be born.” My mother had three children already and only a maid’s income to support them, so she chose adoption for me, believing that I would have a better life with a family in the States than she could ever hope to provide for me if I stayed with her.
I was adopted by amazing parents who have given me all the opportunities and privileges of growing up in America. I’ve danced the Nutcracker with the Grand Rapids Ballet Company and have performed Moonlight Sonata on the piano. Best of all, I recently welcomed home a new sister from China who I’m helping to adjust and already adore. All this because my birth mom put my best interests before her own. But imagine if I had been conceived in America under the same circumstances: a loving mother who couldn’t pay for the life she thought I deserved and a father who didn’t want me. What then? Unborn babies in this situation are aborted every day and why not me? Because I was born in Guatemala, not in “the land of the free and the home of the brave” where abortion is legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Oh, how many ballets not danced, sonatas not performed, siblings not loved if my mother had acquiesced to my father’s wishes and had me aborted.
My Guatemalan story has a happy ending, but millions of American stories did not. Since Roe v. Wade, over 57 million lives, nearly four times the population of Guatemala, have been snuffed out-- denied the American promise of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” And once you’re denied the right to life, what other rights really matter?
Each year, on Life Chain Sunday, my family and I hold signs along one of Grand Rapids’ busiest streets. We’re telling passersby that abortion needs to end. I’ve lived the sign I hold: “Adoption: The Loving Option.” Whenever I hear of someone being adopted, it makes my heart so happy because I know that some birth mom somewhere made that beautiful and selfless decision to give her baby a better future. And she chose life. My four siblings were also adopted; it thrills me that each of the four birth moms represented in our family chose life for their children because I couldn’t imagine not having my brother and sisters, and all the blessings, laughter-even bickering--we share. Our joy could have been a casualty of choice.
When we think of the Third World, we instinctively envision Africa or Latin America. Places where people are poor, homes are makeshift, without any fancy cars or glitzy skyscrapers. Here in America, God has showered us with so much. And the gratitude we show Him? Murdering His children, created in His image. And while many claim abortion is “a woman’s choice,” it’s really not. It’s just plain murder. Others say that the mothers are just removing a blob of tissue. But that “tissue” is someone’s life--no different than yours or mine.
God gave each of us the precious gift of life. He lovingly made us to glorify Him and reflect His image. When we destroy human life, we squander that gift and dishonor Him. We are essentially shaking our fists at God and saying, “What you made wasn’t good enough!” or “I didn’t want that!” or even “Your timing wasn’t right!” We are telling the Creator of the universe that His plans have inconvenienced us, that we know best, and that we do not need Him to interfere in our lives. In our prosperity, many have crossed from self-sufficiency to selfishness.
Many immigrants slip into the United States from Latin America because of the promise and opportunity this great country offers. You rarely hear of someone sneaking south into Mexico from the U.S. But I wonder about all those aborted children--if they had the ability, would they not run across the border to Guatemala so they would be protected? To those lost little lives, which is really the Third World country?
Noelle-Ashley De Nooy, 17, was adopted as an infant from Guatemala. She enjoys ballet, playing the piano, and reading. She is passionate about her pro-life views, and thinks everyone should choose life. While unsure of where the Lord might lead her in the future, she looks forward to continuing to speak out for life whenever the opportunity exists.
This speech, with which she won first place in both the 2015 Grand Rapids Right to Life and Michigan Right to Life Pro-Life High School Oratory Contests, was her first foray into public speaking. She has since presented it several times for various pro-life groups, including for Life Matters Worldwide at their 2016 banquet. You can hear the audio on Vimeo.